Those who know me, understand my abject distaste for the heat, mugginess and sweating that arrives with the Solstice. Thankfully, i do not feel as though the dog day's ever arrived because the weather has not been arduous or unendurable. The fact that we've had a rather mild hot season out east, makes me considerably less irritated (and irritating). But, i would be remiss if i didn't also attribute the ease and comfort i've had during this most recent summer to the service provided me from, easily, the best intern in my entire tenure.
Her last week having just passed, i feel compelled to address her progress as a tribute to her. But i also face, which i tend to not remember when, in the spring, my cheeks fill with the ruddy excitement of beginning another internship program, the reality of saying goodbye to someone who had once served you. To others who do not relish this commodity, it may miss notice. For me, the corners of my mouth curl in a Seussian splendor when i feel that i am the focus of someone's labor.
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She delighted me nearly everyday, slithering more and more under my skin. What i saw as rigidity in the interview process, i was privileged to see soften as she grew more and more comfortable around me. AND...the girl could wear a skirt. Not like some ladies who toss them on as nods to their office protocol, or like mannequins stationed in a window whose immobile anatomies never warm the fabric and give it shape. She wore them like a flag wrapped around its pole in a summer breeze. She wore them like a ballet dancer wears a tour jete - flawlessly, effortlessly.
I take pride in the little impact i had on her overall prowess. I gave her a place where she could comport herself a certain way, and have an excuse for her reasons why. I enjoyed thinking of the social hours spent back at her local pub engaging her gaggle of twentysomething sex-in-the-cityers who demand to know why her hands were now a constant pageant of manicured art. She would roll her eyes and confess "It's a requirement for work." I removed her of a rather tragic habit of referring to herself or an action of hers as "stupid" - at my insistence, she was never allowed to use the word around me. I gave her the strength to enjoy her state of apprenticeship. So many moments of youth are spent anxious and impatient for growing up and excelling. I gave her an environment where she had plenty of opportunity to learn, but also a sense of accountability for when she made a mistake.
Of course, this reared its rather humorous, but unfortunately pungent side one time when she needed something from me at the end of the day. She had a habit of relying on the phone to communicate with me, rather than face-to-face. I was on a conference call for the better part of an hour, and several times throughout the call, i saw on my call-waiting that she was trying to get a hold of me. I ignored it. About a quarter to four in the afternoon, i heard a light rap on my door. Again, i ignored it. Shortly following, i saw on my call waiting that my secretary was trying to get through. These i never ignored.
"K needs to speak with you for a moment."
The door creaks open and in walks what looks like a brow-beaten version of my usually perky and adorable intern. She carries with her a folded piece of paper. I hold out my hand and she delicately places it in my palm. I unfold it as i let the chatter of my conference call go on in the background. What i read must've been easily the third or fourth draft of her message, because the wording is impeccable.
My mother has requested that i go and collect my younger brother from day camp. Would you be at all open to me leaving a tad early in order to do so?
"yes"___ or "no"___
p.s. please do not widen your eyes or yell."
I chuckled as i held onto the note, waving her out of my office. The next day, i would, of course, commend her for asking first, but tell her that she could've asked my secretary, instead of trying to get through to me. This level of attempting to please i have not seen in an intern for several years. I know i will miss this energy.
I've said goodbye to several interns. I seldomly enjoy it. When i've taken on a soul i perceive as submissive, it is not an easy thing to release them back into the wild after such a short and specifically constrained period of time. I feel each of them has taken a part of me with them. Yes, part of that is my impact on them, but also their impact on me. I grow very attached, and knowing that tomorrow morning i will not see her eruditely cherubic face as i go trudging down the hallway or will not again get to hear her creative pronunciations of words (for example, at her farewell lunch, she proudly ordered the "Sall-mun"), it makes me a bit sad.
Right before she left on Friday, she came running into my office to say farewell and share with me some exciting news she learned from our HR department. She's been invited back for next summer's program, which means, as she puts it, i'll have her as an intern again.
"Lucky for you", i told her.
We hugged eachother goodbye, holding on longer than perhaps boss and employee should. I looked her in the eyes and told her she'll be fine.
I know she will be.
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